This season, cooking schools are marketing their classes to almost anyone under 18. From basic knife skills to more advanced meal prep, it seems like cooking schools are finally realizing that kids have a real interest in becoming more adept around the kitchen.
Teaching kids the basics in the kitchen is what they do every week at The Kids' Table, on the edge of Bucktown and Humboldt Park. But in the summertime, they offer weekly classes for both kids and tots.
"We do longer classes for the 4-6 and 7-10 age groups and even the tots, the 2-3 year olds, get to come twice a week instead of just once a week," said Elena Marre of The Kids' Table.
Younger kids come in the morning - before naps - and two hours of instruction, while the older kids come in the afternoon for a three-hour lesson.
"We just get to do things that take longer to cook for the older kids because we have more time and we get to delve a little bit deeper into all of the recipes," Marre said.
Up in Lincoln Square, The Chopping Block always has high demand for its summer cooking camps. Kids aged 6-11 come for two hours a day, four days a week, while the teens go all week long. Classes cover everything from knife skills to making full-blown recipes.
"We also focus on being organized with the recipes. So we talk about which order to do things in and being prepared before you start cooking," said Carolyn Maniaci of The Chopping Block.
In one class, kids learn how to make an easy frittata, loaded with vegetables they cut and prepped, plus eggs they whisked and cooked. Later on, competition will get a little more intense.
"The last day they do an 'Iron Chef' competition, which is really fun because they get to pick what they're gonna cook. They pick their recipes and they have their teams throughout the week so they have little brainstorming sessions and decide what they're going to do. And we have to pick a winner, which is usually very difficult," said Maniaci.
Other local options offering kids' cooking classes this summer include: Sur La Table downtown, The Flavor Cooking School in Forest Park and in the next few weeks, a new breakfast restaurant and cooking school in Wilmette called Fuel.
The Kids' Table
2337 W. North Ave.
-Offers both summer camps and summer classes for kids (4-6yrs 10:30am-12:30pm, and 7-10yrs 1-4pm), and tots (2-3yrs: 9-10am)
-They offer 13 weeks of summer camp for kids. Each week focuses on a different letter of the alphabet (Ex. A is for apple, appetizers, animal crackers) These run from June 8th-Sept. 4th. (Chili, Cheesy Cornbread & Cherry Cobbler; Manicotti with Meatless Meatballs & Marinara Sauce)
The Chopping Block
4747 N. Lincoln Square
Has summer camps for kids and teens. The kids camp is 4 days a week for 2 hours per day, and the Teen camp is 5 days a week for 2 hours as well. They run throughout the entire summer.
Sur la Table
52 East Walton
*Smaller, organized classes for children
-Kids Baking Camp June 20-24
-Teen Baking Camp July 20-24
-Bon Appetite Teens Cooking Camp June 13-17
-Bon Appetite Kids Cooking Camp July 13-17
Flavour Cooking School
7401 W. Madison, Forest Park
-Kitchen Helpers (4-6yrs)
-Young Chefs (7-11yrs)
-Cook with your Kids Camp
A Kid's Kitchen
Young Chefs Academy
2825A Pfingsten Rd., Glenview